Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The File on Fraulein Berg

There is a book fair that I go to every year that is always so much fun; I really really love it - and I have found some of my most favorite books there - all books have something in them as my sister says, they are all something. In elementary school, when I began to go to this book fair, I found a book called The File on Fraulein Berg by Joan Lingard. Here is an excerpt from the author's web site:

1944, Belfast. World War 11 drags on and Kate, Harriet and Sally are a little bored. They long for something exciting to happen. They read spy stories and imagine themselves performing deeds of great daring.

Their heads are so full of anti-German propaganda that, when Fraulein Berg, a real live German, arrives at their school, it doesn't take them long to decide that their new teacher must be a spy. The girls now have a mission. To watch her. Follow her. Track down her every secret. Prove that she is the enemy.

But there is something that they do not know about this woman and The File on Fraulein Berg reveals a very different story - one that will haunt Kate for the rest of her life.

One thing is sure - this book has most definitely haunted me, just as the events in it must haunt the main character, Kate. The book's secret - what is revealed towards the end, is heartbreaking, heart shattering. This is a beautifully written book, the tone is nice and calming, but there is also an element of sadness; I always picture the skies gray and dull, the days slow, just as the girls see them. I cringe whenever they follow Fraulein, when they see her and when they spy on her. I remember playing many spy games when I was young, and perhaps this is one of the reasons why I cringe. I have never met anyone who has read this book, but I love it and highly recommend it. I was very lucky to have found that book that day at the book fair and to have chosen it. It still sits on my bookshelf.

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